It’s D-day for Riah Phiyega

Suspended Police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Suspended Police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Today is D-day for National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega’s submission to President Jacob Zuma against her suspension following the establishment of a board of inquiry into allegations of misconduct.

Last week Zuma announced that a board of inquiry had been established as recommended by the report of the Farlam commission of inquiry into the Marikana massacre.

The Farlam Commission found that top police management had lied about the events leading up to the killing of 34 striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine three years ago, and tried to obscure the fact that the operation that led to their deaths was hastily made without evaluation.

In August Zuma had informed Phiyega of his intention to institute an inquiry and gave her six days to respond. “General Phiyega responded on August 24, stating that she needed further clarity to enable her to respond,” the presidency said.

According to the presidency, Zuma furnished Phiyega with the terms of reference of the board of inquiry following her request for further clarity with regards to the inquiry and has in addition accorded Phiyega a further opportunity to make representations by today as to why she should not be suspended pending the final determination of her fitness to hold office.”

The inquiry will look at whether the national commissioner acting together with other leadership of the South African Police Service (Saps) or alone, misled the Farlam Commission by concealing that it had made the decision to implement a “tactical option.”

Whether the decision taken to implement the “tactical option” ought reasonably to have foreseen the “tragic and catastrophic consequences which ensued.” The board will also look at remarks by the national commissioner at the Saps parade on August 17, 2012.

They could have been understood to be an unqualified endorsement of the police action and thereby having the consequence of undermining, frustrating or otherwise impeding the work of the Farlam Commission. –


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